Monday, 21 September 2020

Understated everyday supercar

Understated everyday supercar

IF you appreciate accomplished cars — from an aesthetic point of view and not by just how flash and fast it looks — then you are sure to admire Audi’s revised 450PS super-Avant.

This week’s drive, the 2020 Audi RS 4 Avant, powered by a 2.9 TFSI twin-turbo V6 engine, has been developed by Audi Sport GmbH in part as an homage to the legendary 2.7 litre V6 of the first RS 4 Avant back in 1999.

Everything about the new car makes it sing because all the equipment, power, and technology are completely in tune.

It’s fast — the new RS 4 Avant offers 450PS, the first RS 4 Avant twin-turbo V6 by comparison had a power output of 380PS, enabling it to accelerate from zero to 62mph in just 4.1 seconds.

But it’s not furious. This is understated automotive class at its finest. When ordering the new RS 4 Avant you can even get the carmaker to omit the RS badges “for a more understated look”.

This is what Audi was all about for me. It didn’t have to shout its credentials or boast about its cars’ prowess.

Certainly, with the RS 4 Avant you don’t have to make an exhibition of yourself to enjoy a superb motoring experience.

Though I have to say the colour of the test car — metallic Sonoma Green — attracted much comment and admiration for its “vintage” look.

However, there is nothing old-fashioned about the RS 4 Avant. It is a car bursting with up-to-minute technology and engineering.

It is an everyday car with the ability of a supercar. Oliver Hoffmann, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH nicely sums up the appeal of the RS 4 Avant.

Hoffman says the car combines “consistent sportiness with unlimited everyday usability”.

He says this “may seem like an unconventional idea to some, but to us, the high-performance Avant is one of the best concepts of Audi’s 25-year history.”

Let’s begin with the car’s greatest asset, its engine. The TFSI engine weighs just 182kg, which is 31kg lighter than the V8 engine in the previous 2012 RS 4.

Audi says this benefits the gross weight and the axle load distribution — two prerequisites for impressive performance.

The RS dynamic package increases the electronically governed top speed from 155mph to 174mph.

The power of the 2.9 TFSI flows to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via the eight-speed tiptronic transmission.

The high-output V6 not only has strong performance but also a high level of efficiency. It returns up to 30.7mpg, which corresponds to 211 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The technical prowess of the RS 4 Avant is too sophisticated to delve into here.

But to mention one example, wheel-selective torque control is active on all types of surfaces.

This means when negotiating more challenging roads, it brakes the wheels on the inside of the bend very slightly via the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC).

This increases the drive torque on the wheels on the outside of the bend with the higher wheel load.

The result of all this is precise, agile and neutral handling. The standard quattro sport differential with RS-specific tuning ensures an even more dynamic response when accelerating in corners. (RS models are equipped with quattro permanent all-wheel drive as standard).

The RS 4 Avant is factory-equipped with 19in forged aluminium wheels with 265/35 tyres. Various 20in designs are available upon request, including a new fully milled five-arm wheel painted completely in matt bronze and running with 275/30 tyres.

Inside the car, the 10.1in MMI touch display is the control centre of the new operating system. It is located in the centre of the instrument panel and tilted slightly towards the driver.

The touch-sensitive screen displays a high-resolution graphic animation of an RS 4 Avant to welcome the driver.

The MMI touch display provides acoustic feedback and takes over the functions of the previous rotary pushbutton on the centre console.

The driver can use the RS monitor to call up an overview of drive system component temperatures, maximum g-forces and information regarding tyre pressures and temperatures.

In the Audi virtual cockpit, special RS displays provide information on tyre pressure, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, lap timings, acceleration measurements and g-forces. The shift light display prompts the driver to upshift when the rev limit is reached.

The navigation in the new RS 4 Avant is now more versatile and user-friendly. Audi connect and Audi connect plus provide a host of online services, such as Car-to-X services, which take advantage of the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.

A new look, a new touch-screen MMI Touch operating system and a new, four-strong choice of model variants — the 450PS Audi RS 4 Avant has re-joined the UK Audi Sport range in great shape.


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